Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - ART & MUSIC -

The same process that leads to an in­crease in the risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, high blood pres­sure, pre­ma­ture ag­ing and other con­di­tions, sur­prise, sur­prise, also af­fects brain health and links di­rectly to Alzheimer’s. “This is the key rea­son why peo­ple have long-term brain health is­sues but also short-term is­sues,” says Dr Briffa. “It can up­set the chem­istry of the brain in a way that causes any­thing from brain fog to de­pres­sion.”

In­flam­ma­tion is the re­sult of an im­mune sys­tem that has be­come per­ma­nently switched on, and can some­times lead the body to at­tack its own tis­sue as an auto-im­mune con­di­tion.

How do you know if your body is in an in­flam­ma­tory state? “If you have pain, you’re more likely to have in­flam­ma­tion,” says Dr Amen. “If your gut is not right, you’re more likely to have in­flam­ma­tion. If you don’t eat fish or have low omega-3 fatty acids, you’re more likely to have in­flam­ma­tion. If you eat a lot of pro­cessed foods, you’re more likely to have in­flam­ma­tion.”

There are also sim­ple blood tests that your GP can carry out to check mark­ers for in­flam­ma­tion, says Dr Bre­desen. Ask for your high sen­si­tiv­ity C-re­ac­tive Pro­tein (HS-CRP) to be tested. Ideally, says Dr Bre­desen, it would be less than 0.9mg/dl. Rou­tine blood tests usu­ally in­clude the ra­tio of al­bu­min to glob­u­lin (A/G ra­tio), an­other mea­sure of in­flam­ma­tion, which is best, he says, if be­low 1.8. Other good mea­sures are the ra­tio of in­flam­ma­tory omega-6 to omega-3s in your red blood cells, which he ad­vises should be less than 3 but above 0.5.

If you find your in­flam­ma­tory mark­ers are higher than you would like, you may want to clean up your diet — re­duc­ing sugar, re­duc­ing sim­ple carbs that are high GI, such as breads, pasta, flour-based prod­ucts, pro­cessed foods, al­co­hol and bad fats in­clud­ing trans fats. Re­place with anti-in­flam­ma­tory foods such as green, leafy veg, bras­si­cas and beet­root. Fish oils are hugely help­ful. Aim for 1g daily of EPA from fish oil, krill or al­gae, sug­gests Dr Bre­desen. And brew teas or use spices and herbs such as gin­ger, cin­na­mon, cloves, turmeric and thyme as of­ten as pos­si­ble. Tackle stress, and check your oral hy­giene and gum health. If, when you retest, your mark­ers are still high, then ask your doc­tor to delve a lit­tle deeper to check for any chronic in­fec­tions, for ex­am­ple.

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